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RAW: Goldberg's challenge, Kane in flames
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


Triple H is the world heavyweight champion. As Raw has gone through its twists and turns over the past few months, that has been the one constant. Even facing five contenders in one match at SummerSlam, Triple H prevailed thanks to his teammates in Evolution and his best friend, his sledgehammer. Now, though, he's made an enemy out of the one man who might be booked to end his reign: Goldberg. Their feud should be the focus as Raw emerges from SummerSlam and heads for Unforgiven. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler call the action live from the University of Arizona.

Sure enough, the first images we see are those of a battered Goldberg at the end of SummerSlam. If you missed the show (and didn't read about it here on SLAM! Wrestling), Goldberg was handcuffed to the Elimination Chamber and battered by Evolution to the point where he was pretty bloody. The gash on the back of his calf looked particularly nasty. Goldberg heads to the ring and wastes no time calling out the world champ, who obliges by coming to the stage flanked, as usual, by Ric Flair and Randy Orton. The world champ listens with amusement to a challenge to a one-on-one confrontation for his world title tonight. Triple H refuses, using some twisted logic to point out thst he took out the five top men in the industry on Sunday night. Undeterred, Goldberg makes it clear that he won't stop until he gets what he wants. The champ wonders what makes Goldberg different from anyone else who thinks they deserve a title shot, but he is sick of the fans' chanting and decides he will put up the belt at Unforgiven. But there's a catch - Goldberg has to agree to put his career on the line. If he loses, he's out of the WWE for good. Bill accepts, and that's that for the time being.

Match 1 - Trish Stratus vs. Gail Kim

Kim kicks off the hostilities by jumping Trish before she even gets to the ring. Once they get inside, a large portion of the match involves Kim locking on a sleeper and Stratus trying to escape. She finally does, hitting her Chick Kick (I wince every time I write that) for a two count and closing the deal with the Stratusfaction. She doesn't enjoy her victory for long as women's champ Molly Holly bashes her on the ramp and gets in the ring to glare at Kim.

Footage from SummerSlam replays Eric Bischoff's boasts about his alleged romp with Linda McMahon. If you've missed this angle so far, be glad you did. Coming back from a commercial break, we find Molly choking Kim in a hallway. Holly wants the two of them to team up to take out Stratus, and Kim replies (under obvious duress) that the blonde bombshell doesn't stand a chance.

Match 2 - Rodney Mack and Mark Henry vs. Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade

Yes, Theodore Long has offered someone else a chance to earn his player's card, and it's the World's Strongest Man. Henry ends this little exhibition in quick fashion when he catches Jindrak in mid-air attempting a cross-body and lowers the boom with a big powerslam. Now move on, there's nothing else to see here.

Lance Storm complains to his new mentor Goldust that he was set up last week when he went into the women's locker room. Goldust says he only did it to prove Storm's charisma and points out that Lance emrged with a healthy relationship. Indeed, we see that Mini-Dust is clinging to Storm's leg. Super hero wanna-be Rosey drops in to ask Storm about a commotion in the ring, but Storm is too occupied with his depressing storyline. A stagehand tells Rosey about a man with a gun in the ring, and he rushes off. Hurricane stops by a second later and takes off in pursuit of his overzealous sidekick. As it turns out, the man with the gun is using it to fire t-shirts into the crowd. Rosey takes him out and hilarity ensues, or at least that's the intention of the writers.

A montage of still shots shows us Jonathan Coachman's heel turn at SummerSlam. Yes, you read that right. Terri asks Stone Cold about the Coach's actions, and the co-general manager says he was forced to defend himself against the Coach after he was physically provoked. Eric Bischoff, looking a little worse for wear following his run-in with Shane McMahon and Austin on Sunday night, says that's only one side of the story. For Coach's bravery in coming to his aid, Bischoff intends to make him... Employee of the Month. Wow. I bet he gets his name engraved on a plaque and everything.

Match 3 - La Resistance and Rob Conway vs. Dudley Boyz and Spike Dudley

Conway was the fake serviceman who helped the tag champs a week ago and the fake cameraman who aided them at SummerSlam. He reveals that he is an American, but supports La Resistance because he is ashamed of his country's actions. His subsequent boring rant proves that the WWE should really leave anything of a political nature out of its shows. The match finally begins with Spike coming down the ramp as a decoy for his brothers, who sneak into the ring from the crowd. The surprise gives the Dudleys the upper hand, and they soon hit Rene Dupree with a 3-D and Sylvan Grenier with a Dudley Dog. Bubba presses Spike overhead and hurls him to the floor on Dupree, distracting the ref. Conway takes advantage by using one of the tag belts to KO Bubba and get the pinfall. Looks like this angle isn't wrapping up any time soon.

A spiffy new intro brings us into Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. Your host is a bit miffed about the scrapes and bruises he received in the Elimination Chamber, and he blames them all on Goldberg. But he's got bigger fish to fry tonight, like getting to the bottom of the Bischoff-Linda affair. The CEO comes to the ring despite saying last week that she might never be able to step foot inside one again after she was attacked by Kane. I'd blame the continuity guy, but we all know the WWE doesn't have one of those. Linda says Bischoff is a very creative liar, but his lecherous behavior still deserves consequences. As she ponders what those might be, some familiar music brings her husband strutting to the ring. Vince says there will be no repercussions against Bischoff, and that he invited Eric to the McMahon estate. He goes on to claim that he is the only victim, as Linda has turned both their children against him. Linda and Vince debate Vince's need for mental help until Shane joins his parents in the squared circle. Jericho takes exception to Shane's unkind words about Vince by hitting a low blow with his microphone. Vince and Y2J suck all the heat out of the confrontation by simply leaving, though Vince does make a match between Shane and Jericho for later tonight.

Match 4 - Randy Orton vs. Maven

Orton has Flair in his corner, so Maven evens the odds by bringing out Shawn Michaels. His presence comes in handy when Flair interferes in the match, earning him a dose of Sweet Chin Music. Orton still manages to hit the RKO a short time later, but he pulls Maven up instead of going for the pin. He sets Maven up for his own, decidedly less impressive version of Michaels' finisher to get the three count, then engages in a stredown with HBK. I smell a feud brewing. Or it might be coffee as I'm having a hard time staying awake.

Terri finds Funkmaster Flex in the crowd so he can plug his new show, Ride with Funkmaster Flex, which seems to have a rating of .001 written all over it. Then it's time for the awards ceremony. Coach is indeed presented with a plaque and poses with Bischoff for a photo op. The new Employee of the Month says he was just doing his job helping out his boss Bischoff. Coachman also thinks he did a fine job filling in for J.R., and he wants an apology from Stone Cold. It's not Austin but Christian who comes to the stage, and he wants an apology for not having a match at SummerSlam. The Rattlesnake does make an appearance with his own sympathy card for everyone who feels slighted - the middle finger. The King throws his two cents in too, and somehow out of this whole mess, Austin makes an Intercontinental title match between Christian and Lawler. Wait... what the heck?

Match 5 - Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Christian - Intercontinental Title Match

For everyone who's been missing him at the announce table, Coach joins J.R. on commentary. They spend most of the time arguing instead of watching the match, which is just as well since it's pretty boring. The King hits a couple of fistdrops off the middle rope, so Coach runs down and pulls him out of the cover. Christian rolls up Lawler and grabs his tights to keep his title. By the way, the crowd is now officially dead.

Coach is interviewing Christian when Austin stops by and makes a match between Coachman and Lawler for next week. Hey, we might as well start killing the next show now, right?

Main Event - Shane McMahon vs. Chris Jericho

Shane comes out firing until Jericho slows him with a back elbow. McMahon back body drops Y2J out of the ring and charges off the steps to take him down. He sets Jericho up on a small table outside the ring and looks ready to recreate his leaping elbow from SummerSlam when Kane's music hits. The monster is nowhere to be seen, however, and the excitment level is getting so high that we need to go to a commercial. Jericho is in charge when we return, but Shane rallies with a kick to the gut and a DDT. Jericho responds with a jumping kick and goes for a Lionsault, but Shane gets his knees up. He goes up top only to get crotched when Jericho knocks the ref into the ropes. A Y2J superplex follows and Kane comes out for real this time. Jericho and the ref bug out, leaving Shane to be victimized by a chokeslam. Kane walks out through the crowd and Shane soon follows. They get into it backstage with Shane on the losing end. Kane finds a few gans of gasoline and pours them into a big dumpster. He lights it on fire and tries to knock the Boy Wonder in, but Shane dodges and knocks Kane into the flames, hopefully with the script for tonight's show. Shane tells the monster to burn in hell as one of the worst Raws in recent memory reaches its painful conclusion.

I was going to cheer everyone up after an extremely boring and disjointed show by publishing the best of the Kevin Nash fan mail. Sadly, the lack of responses left me with no material. Maybe all the Big Daddy Cool fans are still on vacation or out doing back to school shopping. In any case, I was moved to come up with my very own tribute. I call it simply, "An Ode to Big Kev."

Oh Kevin Nash is my favorite wrestler

Wait, that's not quite true

But there's good stuff about Big Kev

I'll break it down for you

His elbow smash is mighty

His Jackknife Power Bomb too

But hold your breath for different moves

And you just might turn blue

He used to be Big Sexy

Now he's Big Daddy Cool

I guess once he hit 40

He seemed like quite a fool

He lost to Jericho, hair versus hair

But did not get shaved bald

The WWE said that he would

A lie is what that's called

I think he misses old Scott Hall

The guy who said, "Hey yo!"

If Scott would see Kev's haircut now

He'd say, "That's messed up bro!"

So next time Kev is main eventing

Please don't boo or bash

Get ready for the big boot baby

It's our man Kevin Nash

Good night everyone!

Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He's hoping to be the SLAM! Wrestling Employee of the Month and wondering if there's a plaque for that.